submitted by Site Administrator on 10.12.2004
(President of the Greek Community in Melbourne)
This biography is part of a collection from "Life in Australia" :
Unique commercial genius: This is the appropriate phrase to apply to the Honourable President of the Greek Community of Melbourne, Mr. Antonios I. I. Lekatsas, once struggling for his living, and today a great businessman. 24 years have flowed past and, properly used by a great, capable and audacious man, such as Mr. Antonios Lekatsas is, have resulted in the acquisition of substantial wealth. Three splendid, smart and exquisite buildings, of a commercial nature and part of the property owned by him, together with another building of twelve storeys, the tallest in Australia, standing by Sydney Central Railway Station and bearing the name “Australian Buildings”, sing the praises of the splendid abilities of Mr. Antonios Lekatsas, who is the riches of the Greeks settled in the State of Victoria.
Mr Lekatsas was born on the historical island of Ithaca, in 1863. In 1892, in Melbourne in Australia, he married an English lady, who nevertheless was baptized in accord with the usages of our Church and so embraced the Eastern Orthodox Christian Faith. She thereby greatly contributed to the successful progress of the daring enterprises of her husband. His wife gave him four daughters. When the idea of founding a Greek church in Melbourne was first suggested, Mr. Lekatsas contributed greatly to the realization of this sacred duty, helping forward this hold goal with all his strength, materially and morally. The local Greek Community, recognizing the moral and social gifts of their fellow Greek, Mr. Antonios Lekatsas and, at the same time, honouring his various good works towards Fatherland and Nation, rightly elected him as President, which office he still holds. Mr. A. Lekatsas has never been indifferent or remiss as regards carrying out or aiding in any national or generally beneficial project. On the contrary, he has properly and truly fulfilled the lofty mission of a pure patriot.
Busy as he is, Mr. Lekatsas never refuses any aim that is holy, beneficial to the community or of national importance his eager, thoughtful and beneficial co-operation. He is unassuming, charming and conciliatory. During any differences that arise in the community, he manages to maintain the Greek Community of Melbourne in a state of enviable harmony and solidarity. The commercial name of this wealthy and distinguished fellow Greek is “A. Lucas”, a name which holds a distinguished position among such names of enterprises in Australia.
Such, then, is a sketch, in a few words, of the scion of Ithaca, Mr. A.I.I. Lekatsas, who rightly and worthily enjoys great esteem and honour from the whole of the Greek community of Melbourne and from all who have made his acquaintance at first hand.
This biography is part of a collection from "Life in Australia" published in 1916 by John Comino. It is an important book as it was one of the first Greek books published in Australia for the Greeks back in the homeland. If they needed any more convincing of the golden opportunities awaiting them in Australia, it probably helped create interest amongst young Kytherians and other Greeks. Each of the men portrayed in the book paid for the honour, which, considering their reputation for thriftiness, must have made the decision a hard one for many a Kytherian.
The Kythera-Family.net team, with the support of the Nicolaus Aroney Trust and other generous sponsors, has undertaken to transcribe the entire book for the website and to translate it into English for the non-greek-speaking diaspora community. We hope to also produce a printed version of the translation of Life in Australia sometime in 2005.
For valuable information about the historical background of the publication of Life in Australia, please read the entry by Hugh Gilchrist I ZOI EN AFSTRALLIA in the History, General History section.
Teacher, journalist, poet and author, Sydney NSW Australia
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